Overcooking Food

Food is prepared by cooking. The nutrition we receive from food depends on how we cook the meal. Cooking of food is basically a series of chemical reactions that change the food quality and makes if eatable. Heating of food increases the chemical activity which can be both bad or good depending on how we cook it. Overcooking food can do much damage than we can imagine.

Overheating Cooking Oil

Heating of cooking oils beyond a certain limit can prove detrimental to our health. When the oil is overheated it looses all the nutritional value and flavor. Also the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats present in oil gets converted to free radicals and trans fat, and starts giving out toxic fumes.

Threshold of Heat Tolerance

Threshold is different for different oils. Every oil has a smoke point, heating beyond which breaks down the oil and begin to give out toxic smoke and free radicals.

For deep frying, oils recommended by USDA are soybean, peanut, canola, corn, virgin olive, sunflower, sesame, grapeseed etc. These oils have smoke point range of 410-450 F.

Effects of Overcooking:

  • Nutrition Loss: The more the food is overcooked the more nutrition will be lost from it. Some vitamins like Vitamin C gets destroyed on overcooking.
  • Free Radicals: Overheating of cooking oil produces free radicals which are carcinogenic i.e. Cancer causing. Free radicals are damaged cells which on getting inside our body can damage other healthy cells in body.
  • Trans Fat: Overheating of cooking oil breaks down the healthy Monounsaturated(MUFA) and Polyunsaturated(PUFA) fats into Trans Fat which raises bad cholesterol and can lead to heart attack and many other health problems.

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